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Cleaning x/y axis rods?

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I just purchased a second hand Ultimaker 2+ and noticed the X/Y steel rods have a decent amount of black residue on them, probably from dust and grime over time. I have tried lubricating the rods with sewing machine oil and then wiping them (and repeat etc). A bit of black comes off but it seems like there must be a better method or lubricant/cleaner that will attack that black gunk better. The printer is still running like a watch so I don't think it is affecting the operation in any way but I would like to get them looking clean and shiny if at all possible. Would a metal polish work without harming the rods?

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I wouldn't polish the rods as such. Wipe down with a degreasing agent (say, acetone) and re-lubricate, that's all I ever do for cleaning. Using any sort of polish isn't the ideal thing to do as polish contains abrasive material. Unless you have actual corrosion, leave the discoloring alone :)

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I wouldn't polish the rods as such. Wipe down with a degreasing agent (say, acetone) and re-lubricate, that's all I ever do for cleaning. Using any sort of polish isn't the ideal thing to do as polish contains abrasive material. Unless you have actual corrosion, leave the discoloring alone :)

I would agree and only add that you should make sure it is not just a tarnishing vs deep corrosion or dirt build up.

Anything less than 12,000 grit would not be good. Yes, I use that....... ;) but even that could make striations if you are not careful. Most metal polishing materials are more coarse than that and look bright because of the resulting hills and valleys causing higher reflection. But they are still tiny scratches.

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Anything less than 12,000 grit would not be good.

And on that note, be aware that the U.S. CAMI grit scale is NOT identical to the European FEPA one.

Even here in the US we have weird grit scales. Differences between sandpaper and polishers and emery cloth.

The polishers and sandpapers are consistent within certain industries. But, why oh why can we not all have a consistent system so it is just easier.

and, thank you for the added info. :)That is new to me. Luv da new info!!

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The polishers and sandpapers are consistent within certain industries. But, why oh why can we not all have a consistent system so it is just easier.

+1 on that. The world would be so much improved if we could just settle on ONE standard of measurement for everything.

Elaborating a bit on grit differences: Since I work in an industry where a lot of documentation is American in origin, I have to be really careful with these things. Say I go shopping for 240 grit. Since I'm European, it's automatically assumed that I mean P240 (the P meaning FEPA grit scale). P240 means 58.5 micron grain size. CAMI grit 240 is the same, no problem. But then I want some 800 grit as well. P800 is 21.8 microns. CAMI grit 800 however is 12.6... not even remotely close to the intended.

So yeah - when buying abrasives make sure which standard you're buying, otherwise there's no telling where you end up.

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Thank you for the elaboration. When I taught at a college/institute most of my students were foreign. So we not only had to delve into measurement differences, but also video broadcast differences (PAL vs NTSC) and it was never pretty. Especially if you had to convert and create weird 'mixed frames' (25 FPS PAL vs 29.97 NTSC).

So yeah, all industries should get together, make standards and really, the US needs to get off the Imperial measurement system and just go metric. Base 10 is so much more efficient.

Fortunately, I spent 3 of my formative school years in the Bahamas and learned the metric system so it is not a full boondoggle for me.

But, seriously, I do love the new info. Makes for a more rounded life experience :)

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Maybe you could try non-abrasive kitchen cleaning aids, like those used to remove burnt cooking rests in ovens? They work in a chemical way. Just make sure they do not get into the bearings, as they might be acidic or caustic, which could attack metals if staying on it too long; or they could contain solvents, which might attack the plastics around the bearings.

If you want to polish, you could consider using a soft polish for plastic lenses? These should be far less abrasive than metal polishes.

Anyway, try them on a small spot in the least used corner first (left back?) Or even better, try them on a separate piece, like a dirty coin.

Edit: I just realised: in a car shop, you may find plastic lense polish. This is used to polish plastic head light covers to fully transparant again, when they have become dull due to the sun, or when they are scratched and sanded by sand and stones thrown up from the road.

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These are the polishing supplies I use when making plastic models. I can get a better surface with them than just a standard gloss coat.

http://www.bereahardwoods.com/pen-kit/sets/Acrylic_finishing_kit.html

And as a finisher (yes, beyond the US grade 12,000 grit)

https://www.novuspolish.com/

The pads are great as they follow an easy path from course to fine grade. They are flexible and water sandable. That is most important when polishing as you do not want to grind the residue back into the surface and make it worse. I have proven that can happen. Failures teach me more than successes do.

Also, the finer the grit, the less pressure. You are only trying to get the tops of surface imperfections out and not really dig into the material.

The Novus products come with a special cloth that is not abrasive to plastic surfaces and lets the liquid do the work. I have been able to take dinged plastic see-through and polish it out to a fully transparent, non-optical hazed surface as well as that 'wet-look' mirror shine on models and paints. If it will not abraid plastic, it will not abraid metals. Well, anything can be abrasive with enough pressure, but you get the idea.

The clumsy noob has found every way possible (so far and still learning) to compensate for said clumsiness. :)

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Thanks for all the great replies. I think I may start by trying a light amount of a non-abrasive cleaner like WD40 to start (just for its cleaning properties - I would clean it off and re-oil). I never thought of plastic polish and I may have some around here from plastic modelling etc.

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I always use a microfiber cloth, drop some oil on it, and clean the smooth rods. I bought a pack 2years ago and I have only use 2. They can be cleaned on soap and they don't leave fibers (the ones for eyeglasses). Also I use oil on them to lubricate/whilecleaning.

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I always use a microfiber cloth, drop some oil on it, and clean the smooth rods. I bought a pack 2years ago and I have only use 2. They can be cleaned on soap and they don't leave fibers (the ones for eyeglasses). Also I use oil on them to lubricate/whilecleaning.

Brand suggestion? :)

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Since we're talking abrasives I'm just going to throw one thing in there that's highly useful - especially to people not terribly proficient in sanding/polishing.

Micro-mesh

This is a great product. Small abrasive pads in a variety of grain sizes and you can buy sets that allow for easy sanding through the grits. More importantly, they've got a foam backing which ensures correct pressure by letting the grain sink into the foam in case too much force is applied. No need to wrap it around anything like you might want with sandpaper either, the foam is stiff enough to work on its own.

Heh, incidentally they have their own grit scale too ;)

Fantastic bit of kit, this - nonstandard grit or not. Ranging from around 30 to < 3 microns - I've buffed out scratched watch lenses with it.

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Since we're talking abrasives I'm just going to throw one thing in there that's highly useful - especially to people not terribly proficient in sanding/polishing.

Micro-mesh

This is a great product. Small abrasive pads in a variety of grain sizes and you can buy sets that allow for easy sanding through the grits. More importantly, they've got a foam backing which ensures correct pressure by letting the grain sink into the foam in case too much force is applied. No need to wrap it around anything like you might want with sandpaper either, the foam is stiff enough to work on its own.

Heh, incidentally they have their own grit scale too ;)

Fantastic bit of kit, this - nonstandard grit or not. Ranging from around 30 to < 3 microns - I've buffed out scratched watch lenses with it.

 

I took a look. That little rounded square pad is the same thing (They look the same at least) as the ones I get from Berea Hardwoods. I have not seen the big pads though. I will have to investigate.

And they are amazing. Just as SyntaxTerror said.

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